Authors: Dr. Rena F. Subotnik
Conference: 1st World Giftedness Center International Conference
The role of mentors for talented students varies according to developmental level and domain. Since domains differ as to when they begin, peak, and end, mentoring at the beginning of a talent trajectory may take place in middle school for a science student and in elementary school for a violinist. In later stages of talent development, mentors are more likely to select their protégés than to be organizationally matched with mentees. As mentees gain requisite skills and knowledge mentors place more emphasis on modeling and coaching for psychosocial skills and insider knowledge (access to networks of information, attitudes, and behaviors rewarded by gatekeepers) that allow their mentees to stand out and, if necessary, endure pushback derived from proposing creative ideas or performances that challenge the status quo. these conclusions are derived from studies of mentoring talented students, with an emphasis on identifying similarities across domains, and recognition that mentors’ provision of insider knowledge is particularly important for low-income children and youth.